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Subcontractor’s Indemnity Clause Must Contain Explicit Waiver of Immunity of Workers’ Compensation Act

Posted in Washington

Brown v. Prime Constr. Co., 102 Wash. 2d 235, 684 P.2d 73 (1984)

In this negligence suit filed by an injured employee of a subcontractor against the general contractor, the latter filed a third-party indemnification claim against the subcontractor.  The case involved the validity of an indemnity provision in a contract between a general contractor and its subcontractor.  The Superior Court, King County, granted summary judgment, and on appeal, the Washington Supreme Court affirmed, holding, among other things, that the subcontractor’s indemnity clause did not clearly and specifically contain a waiver of immunity of the Workers’ Compensation Act.  Therefore, the indemnity clause was not enforceable to compel subcontractor to indemnify general contractor for damages paid to subcontractor’s employee who was injured on the job and sued general contractor for negligence.